My latest book is out. It’s called, Evasive Entrepreneurs and the Future of Governance: How Innovation Improves Economies and Governments. I’m making the opening chapter available here to provide an overview of the contents found in this 370-page book. Also here’s the launch essay and the event launch video (also embedded below), which discuss how the themes discussed throughout the book have become even more visible during the coronavirus crisis.
The race for artificial intelligence (AI) supremacy is on with governments across the globe looking to take the lead in the next great technological revolution. As they did before during the internet era, the US and Europe are once again squaring off with competing policy frameworks.
In early January, the Trump Administration announced a new light-touch regulatory framework and then followed up with a proposed doubling of federal R&D spending on AI and quantum computing. This week, the European Union Commission issued a major policy framework for AI technologies and billed it as “a European approach to excellence and trust.”
Congress has become a less important player in the field of technology policy. Why did that happen, and what are the ramifications for technological governance efforts going forward?
I’ve spent almost 30 years covering technology policy. There was a time in my life when I spent almost all my time as a policy analyst preoccupied with developments in the federal legislative arena. I lived in the trenches of Capitol Hill and interacted with lawmakers and their staff morning, noon, and night.
In recent years, however, I have spent very little time focused on the Legislative Branch because it has effectively…
This week, the Trump Administration proposed a new policy framework for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that attempts to balance the need for continued innovation with a set of principles to address concerns about new AI services and applications. This represents an important moment in the history of emerging technology governance as it creates a policy vision for AI that is generally consistent with earlier innovation governance frameworks established by previous administrations.
Generally speaking, the Trump governance vision for AI encourages regulatory humility and patience in the face of an uncertain technological future. …
The spread of “sanctuary cities” — local governments that resist federal laws or regulations in some fashion, and typically for strongly-held moral reasons — is one of the most interesting and controversial governance developments of recent decades. Unfortunately, the concept receives only a selective defense from people when it fits their narrow political objectives, such as sanctuary movements for immigration and gun rights.
But there is broader case to be made for sanctuaries in many different contexts as a way to encourage experiments in alternative governance models and just let people live lives of their choosing. The concept faces many…
In my last essay, I defended technological innovation against criticisms leveled by self-declared “humanist” scholars, who claim it is “chauvinist” to believe in the transformative potential of technology. Properly understood, I argued, “‘technology’ and technological innovation are simply extensions of our humanity and represent efforts to continuously improve the human condition. In that sense, humanism and technology are compliments, not opposites.” I noted that:
“Technology” is not some magical force or shiny device that appeared out of thin air. All technology is the product of human design. The most straightforward definition of “technology” is simply the application of knowledge to…
I’ve always been perplexed by tech critiques that seek to pit “humanist” values against technology or technological processes, or that even suggest a bright demarcation exists between these things. Properly understood, “technology” and technological innovation are simply extensions of our humanity and represent efforts to continuously improve the human condition. In that sense, humanism and technology are compliments, not opposites.
I started thinking about this again after reading a recent article by Christopher Mims of The Wall Street Journal, which introduced me to the term “techno-chauvinism.” Techno-chauvinism is a new term that some social critics are using to identify when…
We hear a lot today about the importance of “disruptive innovation,” “deep technologies,” “moonshots,” and even “technological miracles.” What do these terms mean and how are they related? Are they just silly clichés used to hype techno-exuberant books, articles, and speeches? Or do these terms have real meaning and importance?
This article explores those questions and argues that, while these terms are confronted with definitional challenges and occasional overuse, they retain real importance to human flourishing, economic growth, and societal progress.
By Adam Thierer and Jennifer Huddleston Skees
There was horrible news from Tempe, Arizona this week as a pedestrian was struck and killed by a driverless car owned by Uber. This is the first fatality of its type and is drawing widespread media attention as a result. According to both police statements and Uber itself, the investigation into the accident is ongoing and Uber is assisting in the investigation. While this certainly is a tragic event, we cannot let it cost us the life-saving potential of autonomous vehicles.
Technological innovation is the single most important determinant of long-term economic growth and improvements in living standards. This is the consensus opinion among economists, political scientists, and economic historians. By continuously providing new and better ways of doing things with fewer resources and at less cost, technological change dramatically expands the potential for human flourishing.
This is why it is so essential that a nation get innovation policy right. By establishing a regulatory environment conducive to entrepreneurial activities, policymakers can unlock growth opportunities and radically improve the human condition over time. Fostering a culture of “permissionless innovation” — i.e., …